The Pl alleged medical malpractice.
He was in an accident where his legs suffered extensive
Surgery was performed on his legs.
Because of severe complications, the Pl was transferred to
another hospital where his legs were amputated.
Found for the Df.
District court limited cross-examination or a rebuttal witness
for the defense.
Pl - witness (Dr. Joseph Lichtor)
Said the complications and subsequent amputations was the
Df - rebuttal (Attorney Alder)
Mr. Alder testified the Dr. Lichtors reputation for truth and
veracity in the Kansas City area was bad.
Pl - cross-examination (Alder)
Alder said some of his clients in those cases were insurance
District Court refused
District court refused to allow further questioning on the
subject of insurance.
Mr. Alder was employed in party by the same liability carrier
who represents the Df in this action.
The fact that defendant's insurer employed Mr. Alder was clearly
admissible to show possible bias of that witness.
- the trial court acted within its discretion in excluding
- This argument is without merit.
In our opinion the probative value of the evidence far outweighs
any danger of unfair prejudice.
Also, there is no indication in the record or briefs of the
parties that any particular prejudice was threatened in this
Rule 403 was not designed to allow the blanket exclusion of
evidence of insurance absent some indicia of prejudice.
Such a result would defeat the obvious purpose of Rule 411.
- any error was harmless and did not affect a substantial right
of the plaintiff.
Pl was entitled to surrebuttal
To pass on this argument we must view the total circumstances of
Plaintiff's claim rested for the most part on the credibility of
his expert witness.
When defendant undertook to impeach that witness plaintiff was
entitled to attempt to show possible bias of Mr. Alder as
Considering the importance of expert testimony in this case
we cannot conclude that the trial
court's exclusionary ruling was
mere harmless error